Monday, October 11, 2021

Nukadoko Progress Report: The First Carrot

The first carrot to emerge from the nukadoko.

A conversation with a local farmer at their farm stand informed me that cucumber season was over. To be honest, I was only a little bit sad at this news. Because of the nukadoko, we've eaten more cucumbers than ever before. It's been great and delicious fun, but I'm ready for something new.

As the farmer and I continued chatting, I noticed a selection of bright orange carrots. Like many times found at farm stands, these vivid specimens were most likely the wrong size, wrong shape, etc. Even though they looked perfectly fine to me, they didn't meet the strict standards set by distributors and supermarkets for produce. The quality, though, is the same, so some farmers sell these castoffs from small stands just outside the farm gate. Carrots, then, were up next for the nukadoko.

Preparing the Carrot

I trimmed off the top, peeled, cut the carrot in half as it was quite long, and salt-rubbed each half and set them to the side to sweat while I flipped and mixed the nuka paste. I laid the halves horizontally like cucumbers and buried them. it was about 12:45 PM on a cloudy rainy day. The temperature was 78°F (26°C) and the humidity was 88%.

Carrots are denser and more fibrous beasts than cucumbers, so I had no idea how long it would require before they were 'done.' That evening around 7 PM, I took out the two halves. I tried the narrower end of the carrot first. My developing pickle knowledge made me suspect that because it was slightly smaller in diameter that it might have pickled a bit faster. The taste was tangy, but to my surprise, the texture of the carrot itself had not much changed. Where cucumbers shift in color, become bendy, and have interior 'watery' spots, this carrot glowed as though it had just had a nice bath and scrub. It was not softer in any discernable way, and the tanginess only came as a kind of aftertaste. 

Tasting the Halves

I reburied the other half for retrieval the next morning, and we ate this early half with our dinner that evening. 

The second carrot to emerge from the nukadoko.

The next morning turned out, instead, to be 12:30 PM. The weather was sunny-cloudy and 77°F  (about 26°C) with 86% humidity. Again, to my surprise, the carrot appeared much the same: vivid orange, refreshed-looking, and not bendable at all. The taste was very tangy with a bit of the carrot's natural sweetness floating around the edges. To be honest, this was an interesting flavor, but not one that appealed to us. However, it worked very nicely chopped up on salad. 


That said, I might try it again once the season goes along. If I do, I would cut it in half lengthwise and see what happens. 

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